About VA301 Project Studio


VA 301 is the first part of a 2 semester long project studio course given at the Visual Art and Visual Communication program at Sabancı University in Istanbul, Turkey. This website is a collector of the learning material of the project that forms the main content of VA 301 which involves the progressive building of a big visual identity system comprised of many interrelated parts.This identity system is designed for one of 3 imaginary companies (or institutions) that students decide upon during the first week of classes. Continue reading


The Logo


A logo is a graphic mark, emblem, or symbol used to aid and promote public recognition. It may be of an abstract or figurative design or include the text of the name it represents as in a logotype. A logo is the central element of a complex identification system that must be functionally extended to all communications of an organization. Therefore, the design of logos and their incorporation in a visual identity system is one of the most difficult and important areas of graphic design. Continue reading

The Visual Elements


Once the logo has been designed we need to start thinking about the design habitat that it is actually going to live in, and with what other “creatures” it is going to share this living space. These other creatures are visual elements that will group themselves around the central figure of the logo, that will help it and complement it, and bring it into focus. And together with the logo they will create the system that we call the Branding Identity, or the Visual Identity of a company. This identity is displayed in a branding manual, which displays all of the usage standards of the visual elements; and at the end of this page we will also talk about putting together a dummy publication, showing a few selected pages. Continue reading

Paper Things


We now come to applying the logotype and the visual elements to the set of paper products that all companies have – the official stationery package.

Letterhead, Business Card and Envelope

In Turkish we call this package “resmi yazışma evrakı” and every company and institution has these because of a legal necessity since for a communication to be official it has to be written on a letterhead which carries the company name. This company name is not the name that is on the logo and it is not a part of the logo. It is part of the address which is put on official stationery. So, it is stuff like “Karabeyaz Aydınlatma A.Ş” or “Tekirefendi Gıda ve Eğlence Hizmetleri Ltd. Şti”. Continue reading

The Gift Package


This phase of the project is all about a gift that the imaginary company will send to some of its more valued clients before New Year. Many companies, both small and large do this, and the idea is to use the gift as promotional material. Which means, of course that the logo and visual identity is to be displayed somewhere on this gift package. Continue reading

3D Things


We now come to the phase in which we apply the logotype and the branding elements to a series of non-paper based, promotional objects that companies like to give out, such as t-shirts, mugs, glasses, CDs, Vinyl, etc etc; or objects that they use as advertising material such as shopping bags, chalkboards, coasters, matchbooks and company vehicles. Continue reading

The Micro Website


Designing a micro website (which is a promotion oriented single page site that gives limited but crucial information for a business) will be a discrete project within the bigger branding project that will bring together typographic content, images, visuals within a screen based layout. We will start to work on this as soon as the “3D objects” part of the project has been put together. Continue reading

Presenting Output


Now that you have put together the system you are at the point where you want to showcase your work. The output you have here is a part of your portfolio and as such will be important for future job applications as well as graduate school applications. And the operative word here is in fact “showcase” – it is not only the work itself but also how you present it that matters. Continue reading